Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of March 25, 2007

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

The word “remember” can have different shades of meaning. It usually means to recall to the mind; but in Luke 23:42, the thief on the cross didn’t want to be forgotten. In Acts 10:31, the centurion’s alms and prayers were a remembrance or a memorial to him. In 1 Timothy 1:4, this word which is translated “mindful” means “keeping in memory” or “aware”. Paul was aware of the tears of Timothy. These are all variations of the same basic definition.

Many have taught that the Lord chooses to forget our sins and inequities. In the two passages we have quoted, the author is actually dealing with the sins of the nation of Israel. However, the teaching no doubt applies to new testament believers in Christ. I am not convinced that the author is teaching that the Lord chooses to forget our sins, but He does choose not to remember or to think about them. He does not recall them to his mind, and He does not set up a memorial so that He is constantly reminded of them.

When the children of Israel turned away from God to serve idols in the land of Israel, the Lord sent them into captivity in Babylon for being unfaithful to Him. He will never forget what they did since He has written a Bible that is a permanent record of their sin and iniquity. But under the new covenant or will, He says that those who have His law in their hearts and in their minds will not have their sins on his mind. He will not be thinking about their sin nor will he be dealing with them because of their sin anymore.

We who are saved are to remember the Lord in a symbolic meal that proclaims His death until He comes again. We need this way of memorializing Him because we do have a tendency to forget. But God does not forget. He just chooses not to let our sins be an issue that comes between Him and us. He can righteously forgive us and not be occupied with our sin because of the sacrifice of His Son. He can remove our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He can cast our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19. He can blot them out (Acts 3:19). He can forgive our sins and cleanse our sins (1 John 1:9). Sometimes we say, “Out of sight is out of mind.” Our sins are out of God’s sight and they are out His mind.

I don’t believe God ever really forgets anything. After all he is all-knowing. He knows the past, the present and the future. He would not know the past if he truly forgot. But I do believe that when we trust His Son, and when that is a reality in our hearts and in our minds, God acts like He forgets our sins and our iniquities.

While God has the ability to keep from thinking about our sins and iniquities, some of us cannot seem to keep them out of our own minds. We need to choose not to remember or memorialize our own sins once we are liberated by the truth that God has chosen not to remember or memorialize them.

Bruce Collins

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